Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - the year for me

2014 was an interesting year for me.  I hit a lot of highs and lows; in some ways it was the best year of  my life, and in other ways, the worst. But in the end, one this is clear.  I made this year about me.  While I've never been one to really worry about other peoples' opinions, I finally shook off other peoples' influences over me and I focused on myself.  I focused on what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be, and didn't let anything or anyone get in my way.  I know I said this about last year, but this year was a year of huge personal growth for me.

I started off the year not so great, then it got bad - mostly with the exhaustion that finishing college and simultaneously being in graduate school left behind, before I finally stepped back and focused on myself for a few months before starting again. Spring semester was one of the most mentally trying few months of my life; I was pushed to the limit mentally and emotionally.  I nearly thought I wouldn't be able to finish the semester and I also had more mental breakdowns that anyone should have over a three month period. Thanks to sleepless nights, endless papers, my senior thesis, and far more than a normal person should juggle.  I actually remember when my last paper was handed in, my friends dragged me out for celebratory drinks, and I had approximately one glass of wine before I crashed and nearly fell asleep on the way back home. Yeah, that was interesting.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Adventures in baking: Christmas Stollen edition

I hope you all had a great Christmas!  This whole week has been a glorious week of relaxing, TV watching, and sleeping (following a not-so-fun beginning of the week where I suddenly got sick).  I didn't even workout until finally getting the strength to go for a short walk/jog this afternoon.

Baking cookies is easy enough for me, but bread....well bread is something I do less often.   Yet that didn't stop me from doing some Christmas baking because my family all loves any bread-related food...leading me to tackle a Christmas Stollen recipe.  

Keep reading for the recipe!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Empties: December 2014 Edition

I have a confession: these empties have been building up for a long time.  Some of these products are from August or September, and I have just honestly been too lazy to talk about them.  But a perk of being lazy is that I now have lots of empties (including makeup) to show....

Sunday, December 21, 2014

FOTD with some new items! Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee

 In the middle of all my essay writing and studying, it is only natural that I would do a little.....okay, a lot of hauling to tide me over.  Unfortunately, as busy as I was, I didn't actually get to wear any of what I bought until this week, making this a very fun week of trying and wearing new products.  It 
has resulted in me wearing possibly every new product I have at once, but at least now my mornings are a little more exciting!

Today, I will be featuring the Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee in Berry Bliss, a deep wine shade that lightly stains the cheeks for an all day wear.  I've had my eye on this product for months now, and I'm so glad I was finally able to pick it up during the sales this year.

I was looking something to make me look flushed, and Berry Bliss looked like the best shade, although some of the other shades looked gorgeous as well.

It looks pretty scary in the pan, but swatched and on the cheeks it is a sheer and natural looking berry shade.  I think even very fair skintones would be able to pull this off because it is so sheer upon first pass, but it is definitely buildable.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Mama Rouge - An exciting new arrival to Georgetown

After a long and torturous break from blogging (thank you, school and your endless papers..), I'm excited to report back on a great new restaurant in DC. There are a lot of good places to eat, but to be completely honest, none of it really excites me.  I never think of Georgetown as the first place to go to when I want some really good food.

Mama Rouge, however, which just opened two months ago, definitely excites me.  It just opened two months ago on the Waterfront Harbour, replacing Bangkok Joe.  The owners are also the previous owners of Bangkok Joe, which can only mean a good thing.  Mama Rouge features a fusion of Southeast Asian and French cuisine, so think bahn mi's inside croissant buns and curry mussels served with a fresh baguette.  Yeah, that sounds good.

Photo from because I am a bad blogger and forgot to take one...

After making some reservations with OpenTable, a couple of friends and I went to celebrate the end of finals and the beginning of our holiday seasons.  

As I glanced over the menu and tried to choose a reasonable amount of food to order, I made a few quick observations: 

1. There are lots of options - from chicken to bahn mi to noodle to barbeque-esque dishes, there are a lot of options for whatever you're in the mood for. And the good thing about this range is...
2. There is pricing to fit every budget - as a graduate student, and also a recent college student, finding a good meal for cheap in DC can be difficult.  Thankfully, Mama Rouge has items ranging from $10-$30, with some of the cheaper menu items being their bahn mi's and noodle dishes.  This makes it easy to find some unique dishes without racking up a huge bill! Definitely a plus in my book.

Upon finally deciding on some items, we decided to start with some Chicken Lettuce Wraps and the Pork Belly Bao Buns.  Unfortunately, I seem to have deleted some of the pictures I took, but I was definitely impressed with both of them.  The chicken lettuce wraps were perhaps a little bit less unique than some of the other dishes, but it was a light dish to start our meals with.  The pork belly buns were as usual, one of my favorites.  Anything with pork belly is a win for me, and this take on a Chinese classic.  

For my entree, I ordered the Bean thread noodles, which came with chicken, cilantro, basil, and a delicious sauce with a heavy dose of chiles.  It was definitely a spicy dish, but with me, the spicier it is, the better!  This is also one of those dishes that doesn't look too spectacular, but the blend of flavors is delicious.

Another dish my friend ordered with the Spicy herb chicken, which was a delicious mix of chicken, chimichurri, sriracha, and the most tender chicken I've had in awhile.

I'm already eyeing this dish for the next time I go....

Finally for dessert, I finished off with some Creme Brule, which was absolutely amazing.  It was light, creamy, while still being decadent.  It was the perfect end to my meal!

The only dish we were slightly unsatisfied with was my friend's Crepe Suzette.  Although the flavors alone were delicious,  the Suzette sauce seemed to overwhelm the texture and flavor of the crepe, making the crepe seem like it was drowning in the sauce.  The amount of sauce probably could have been halved while still remaining true to the Crepe Suzette recipe, so we wouldn't order that again.

All in all, I (and my friends) were very impressed with the experience. Although Mama Rouge is fairly new, the food was good and unique, with enough options for any mood, and the concept is done well for the most part.  Southeastern cuisine already blends many flavors, but the addition of French techniques is something I don't see very often here in DC.

Would I go back? Absolutely.  I'm going to have to revisit this again and try some more menu items to officially declare it in my top list of restaurants, but it has a solid menu.  Unfortunately, due to my gluten sensitivities, I won't be able to try out their croissant bahn mi's, which has received a lot of praise.  However, the plethora of rice-noodle and rice based dishes means I can still try a lot of items on the menu!  I imagine that with some more tweaking and a few months extra time, this place can become truly spectacular!

For more information, check out the Mama Rouge website.
To make reservations, try out OpenTable.  
(They're also great to manage all your other reservations!)

3000 K Street Northwest, 
Washington, DC 20007
Phone: (202) 333-4422

Have any of you tried Mama Rouge?  What do you think?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Well hello there....

Long time, no see!  I hope that all of you in the US had a great Thanksgiving full of food, family, and relaxation!  Despite my best intentions to keep up with all my food and beauty shenaniganing, school and work have taken over.  After Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Cyber Week and all the holiday deals that have been going on, I have been in shopping heaven, but my wallet has been slightly unhappy!  

We're reaching the final stretch and my frenzy of paper writing will be over in just a little over week, and then I can finally focus on what I love writing about best....all things beauty and food.

I've tried for weeks and weeks every month to get up a favorites post because I have been trying out so many new products, but alas, I have written with no success, so just hang in there!

For now, here's a little teaser of what I've been doing as a study break...

Hazelnut shortbread cookies.

Definitely not healthy; definitely not gluten-free; but most definitely made my family happy.  My baking addiction continues, even if I'm not eating it.  But don't worry, I snuck in a couple (unsuccessful) GF versions myself ;)